The US Department of Energy (DOE) has developed a prototype public access system that is designed to go to publisher’s websites. The system is presently called “Public Access Gateway for Energy and Science” or PAGES. A linkage between PAGES and CHORUS is planned, assuming CHORUS develops as presently described. However DOE has not yet committed to using PAGES. As the OSTP memo process continues, everything is in flux at this time.
The PAGES system is being developed by the Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI). Among the federal agencies, OSTI is the expert in building distributed search systems that federate large numbers of websites and databases, which is what PAGES will have to do. For example, OSTI’s E-Print Network product searches about 60 repository databases and 36,000 author and departmental websites, covering about 5 million articles.
They also built and operate Science.gov which federates all of the federal report databases plus about 2,000 agency websites, with an estimated 200 million pages of content. Note that Science.gov is a multi-agency collaboration. Then they helped weave Science.gov into WorldWideScience.org, an international collaboration presently including about 90 national and international document databases with an estimated 400 million pages of content.
PAGES has been in development for several years. The PAGES concept of using publisher websites rather than a federal repository was developed during the course of the OSTP interagency task force on open access, which OSTI director Walt Warnick co-chaired. Working with several publishers, PAGES achieved proof of concept some time ago and a prototype is working today.
PAGES uses what might be called a tiered approach. If the article in question is published openly within the specified agency timeframe, which OSTI calls the “administrative interval”, then PAGES sends the user to the publisher’s website for it. If not, then the author is asked if it is in a repository, and if so PAGES sends the user there for the article. In the last resort, where there is no public source for the article, the author is required to submit their accepted manuscript to an agency repository, which will be created.
While no decision has been made to use the PAGES system, it clearly has the potential to be a multi-agency portal along the lines of Science.gov or even as the public access component of Science.gov. This would solve the monster problem of multiple agency public access systems I flagged when the OSTP memo first came out.
There is also the possibility of linking published articles with agency research project reports, which often contain additional information about the project results being reported in the journal. For example DOE estimates that its average project report, which it already publishes, is about 60 pages long, far longer than the average journal article.
The PAGES and CHORUS design teams are aware of each other’s work. While integrating the two systems is logical, it depends in part on CHORUS meeting federal needs, which are still evolving. It remains to be seen where this is all going, but PAGES increases the possibility that the OSTP mandate can be met without creating a bunch of separate public access systems or redundant repositories. By the same token integration of PAGES with CHORUS creates obviously beneficial efficiencies.